I mentioned in my previous post about home curriculum. I’m really relying on it during my time off with Jude and Lulu. I’ve always tried to make the very best of my maternity leaves, as I’m sure all Mommy’s do! One thing we’ve been doing a lot of lately has been heading out to my brothers house. My brother and his beautiful wife are currently building an eco house just outside of Pike Lake, SK. To be honest, it’s breathtaking! The views are some of the best in Saskatchewan and their home is going to be quite impressive. You can follow they building process on his blog here
As a teacher, it serves as an incredible outdoor classroom! 23 acres of wildlife, hiking, and lots of dirt digging! Plus wading in the South Saskatchewan river can’t be beat. For my 2 year old, this is pure heaven!
The last time we ventured out for a family trek, we had the greatest learning experience. We had taken a walk down to the river (it’s literally steps from their front door! I know… Jealous!), and immediately, Jude discovered tracks left in the wet sand on the beach. We talked about what animal would have made tracks like this. Of course, we had to follow the prints, which led us to even more; Beaver, moose, and blue heron! Jude took some time to make his own prints in the sand. At first his prints were hard to make out, he tried again, taking his time to press his toes into the damp sand.
This was such a great moment to talk about which tracks would have been made by an animal that was running, walking slowly, or standing still. Jude identified the different tracks and we followed them around the beach.
My brother, Kent then took Jude to find deer remains that he had cleared from the beach a few days prior. However, once they were walking, kent spotted a Great horned owl in the trees. Jude stared in awe. It was truly amazing. Such a majestic bird. They are incredible to watch. So peaceful and serene. We watched quietly for quite awhile before it took flight and flew off. But, our journey with nature that day had just begun!
As our walk along the beach continued, we followed some previous tracks towards a beaver dam. Here, we studied chewed branches and trees. Jude wondered if it hurt the Beavers teeth, and chatted about the beaver chewing the tree down to make his house.
We had to check out the “neighbours” house who had 6 kittens and a large garden. Here we stopped to play with the kitty’s and eat some tomatoes. Jude helped his Aunty Darcie pick some tomatoes for a little energy boost before our hike back. Jude is at a stage in development where most things out of his mouth are followed by “why?” As I’m sure many parents will agree, this constant questioning can be pretty exhausting! But in these moments, I find it to be so exciting. A child’s natural curiosity is one that you can always rely on as a teacher. It’s so important to continue to feed this instinct of questioning as they grow: Question the world, the news, the decisions of our politicians…I hope Jude never loses this sometimes annoying trait!
As we trudged back to Darcie and Kent’s home, Jude chatted in excitement about all we had seen. He talked endlessly about the owl, wondering where he had gone and if he was coming back. As we crossed the beaver dam, he spoke of the branches, told us how the beaver made his house and informed us that there were babies in it! Well…maybe??? We rounded the last bend in the river and were graced by yet another incredible sight, a bald eagle, circling above our heads. He soared with such grace he appeared to be weightless. Jude was once again speechless (for only a moment) as we all were. Then of course he had to ask, “what’s he doing, mommy?” “Maybe looking for something,” I replied. “Why?” Jude asked. We all shared our thoughts. Maybe he was fishing, maybe he saw something in the water. Then the eagle soared higher and higher. He was so high we could barely make him out. It was amazing to watch.
As we continued to walk on the beach, just before reaching the walk-up, a blue heron sat before us. Perched on the beach. Fittingly, Kent and Darcie have an iron gate leading into their property with a blue heron emblem on each gate. I have never seen a heron. They are really beautiful. It didn’t sit for long, as we were encroaching on his space, but after he flew off. Jude and my husband Ryan went to check out his tracks. Sure enough, just like the ones we had seen earlier that day. It’s funny how things can come full circle.
What an incredible morning that was. Jude talks about the animals daily and to anyone that he thinks hasn’t heard about his adventures yet. We can see the learning that was done by observing how a child applies that learning in another situation. A few days after our adventure, Jude decided to take out play dough. He rolled it out then ran to his drawer and hunted for some things. I just watched quietly, waiting to see. What he would do. Then he spoke, answering my thoughts. “I found my eagle, mommy! But no blue heron,” he said sadly. We have quite the collection of these small animals kicking around our place. You can find them here.
Take the time to let the learning happen. It’s amazing to see children question and appreciate the world around them when time is valued.